Prayer is unfortunately going overlooked and underutilized in our Christian walk with the Lord. It is our way of communicating with our Lord and creator. It is a direct line to his throne and there isn’t a voice mail box that gets filled up after the first hour.
James 5: 13-20
Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
Here, James is describing some of the times we should pray. When we are in trouble, when we are happy, when we are sick, when we are lost in sin or when others we know are lost we should pray. In other words, we should pray over every part of our lives, either good or bad.
But what are we to pray for when we face difficulties in our lives? Should we ask for it to be over with quickly so we can get back to living like we were? That, in my experience, is usually not what God has in mind. Earlier in the book, James describes why we go through trials. In James 1: 2,3 he says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” So many times, we go through difficult problems not as punishment, but more as refining. Our goal as Christians should be more like Christ in every way. But we don’t just wake up one morning able to walk on water. It takes years of learning, growing, building our faith and understanding as we cast off the ways of the world. Just like a person would strengthen iron in the fire, so to are we strengthened when we face adversity.
When things are going well in our lives, we shouldn’t take the period for granted. It was given to us as a gift of rest and a blessing. These are the times we should be singing out to the Lord in praise. How often do you get onto your child for not saying thank you? It shows disrespect when all they do is ask, ask, ask, and beg for more and when they get it they run off into the next room like some fat cat with a mouse, not giving the slightest bit of gratitude. It’s a quick way to send me into orbit and it’s also rude. Consider, then, how the Lord must feel when he gives you things and you won’t even take the time out of your day to praise him. He deserves your praise whether you get what you want or not. He saved your soul, how much more does he have to do? Yes, it’s easier to thank God when he directly answers your prayers. Just know that sometimes the answer is no or not yet and be content with that answer and praise him anyway.
James also mentions sickness. Here is where faith and prayer meet the highway. It takes a lot of faith to get down on your knees and pray and actually expect a positive response back. God surely notices this and is not quick to say no. I honestly believe that many of our diseases and ailments would be a thing of the past if we would simply bend a knee and ask for his healing hand. I’ve personally seen it done in my life with my daughter as I talked about in another blog. It still takes place even though you don’t see it on the nightly news. What an amazing experience it is when God does show up and heals you or your loved ones. If you don’t leap into the clouds and sing to his name then, well you need someone to check your pulse.
The lesson here is to not forget prayer in your life. Every part of your life is important to God. He hears your prayers if you are right with him and will surely give you a response. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:6, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father,”